Sunday, September 17, 2006

the Drought and how we cope

How have we coped?
It seems that the drought started about 4.5 years ago, about the time we joined the ‘Open Garden’ Scheme.
Up then I can remember just how hard it was to get a dry weekend where I could spray the weeds.
So, since then each progressive year has got worse, the saviour used to be the summer rain but this year even that failed.
Our first attempt to beat the drought was to sink a bore, we had high expectations and with three diviners saying we had fresh water we were very excited and confidant.
Well, the bore went down through 70 feet of solid clay, then struck basalt rock which the driller said was good news, then finally at 80 feet up the water gushed, boy was I happy.
The driller then put his salinity meter in the steam and it went completely off the dial, we had found the saltiest water he had ever seen in 20 years of drilling. That was enough, we paid him his money and he packed up and left leaving me with the biggest mess you can imagine.
The back lawn was covered in fine clay mixed with salt; I couldn’t leave it there or use it in the Garden, so all I could do was to shovel it into my box trailer and take to the dump (times two). What a job, it was hard enough getting it into the trailer but worse was to come. By the time I arrived at the dump the clay had congealed like jelly and was one sticky lump that wanted to keep my shovel every time I penetrated the lump, it was almost a scene from the movie ‘The Blob’. I did it but it has to go down as one of the worst jobs ever.
We then turned to lots of sugar cane mulch putting about 100 bales each year on the Garden, we find this much lasts the longest and really does the soil good when broken down, also because it is so coarse it lets the rain in.
Water restrictions came into force and Gardeners started to be treated as criminals, so we had to look at new avenues for watering.
We already had a small 5000 litre tank which we used to refill the swimming pool so we decided put one 15,000 litre water tank in to water one of the new shade houses I built, later we put another 15,000 tank in and have made room for one more, unfortunately there is no rebate in the Redland Shire so I am hoping the State Government will ease their rebate criteria. When we get the next tank we will have 50,000 litres of water stored (providing it rains enough).

I have a hose connected to the tanks and have a small electric pump attached to a sack truck, which can be moved between tanks.
We also never plant without putting water crystals and kelp in the hole first.
Hopefully we will be as drought proof as we can.
I am just so envious of those people with dams or good underground water.
P.S: We have now put the extra tank in and the State Government will give us a $1000 rebate and all tanks are now full to the brim thanks to some wonderful spring rain.

1 comment:

PeterA said...

Ian and Judy, like your blog. The idea that this is a young persons technology is a myth. Almost the complete web has been designed by people our age.
On a different note what is a sack truck?
i have also asked a question about lemon trees (I meant lime) on the ABC forum.
Dianne and I are at Thornlands and we had no topsoil here too when we bought the place in 1978. WE are now looking at the installation of tanks too, although we seem to get a little more rain, we had 200mm in the last 8 days.